Glitter Box Theater dusts off The Importance of Being Earnest for Wilde Gone Wild | Theater | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Glitter Box Theater dusts off The Importance of Being Earnest for Wilde Gone Wild

Three directors take liberties with one of Oscar Wilde's most famous plays.


  • Teresa Martuccio
  • Wilde Gone Wild
When Teresa Martuccio started Wilde Gone Wild, an annual theatrical tribute to the late-1800s Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde, the initial response was less than enthusiastic.

“The first read through, you could see the people, their faces were like, ‘what did I get into?’” says Martuccio, whose first production was a take on the 1892 comedy, Lady Windermere's Fan. “It’s also the cadence of how you read the lines, if you deliver it one way, you don’t really get it, but if you deliver it another way you’re like, ‘oh my gosh, that’s some funny shit.’ … The more they read it, the more they got it, the more they heard the jokes in there. By the end, everybody was having so much fun.”

Wilde Gone Wild returns on March 14-15 for another installment at the Glitter Box Theater, the Oakland space co-founded and operated by Martuccio. This time, three directors will each take an act from The Importance of Being Earnest, a farce about two society gentlemen who assume other identities in 1890s London.

Taking act one is Kate Hagerty, followed by Rude Cutlet Theater Company for act two, and Joseph Milliren overseeing act three. Each act will feature a totally different cast of five to eight people. Directors are free to interpret their acts however they want – in the past, some have used puppets or weird, Salvador Dali-style sets and costume, while others have stuck to a more traditional take. The only rule is they have to be off-script and stick to the original text.
  • Teresa Martuccio
  • Wilde Gone Wild

Martuccio says she started the event as a way to satisfy her own love for Wilde, a figure she believes does not get his due despite being an early gay icon. 

“I think I started realizing that none of my peers or friends had ever read anything by him,’” she says. “Especially in the gay community, I was like, ‘how could you have never, ever read Oscar Wilde?’”

She also points out how his life parallels a lot of issues LGBTQIA people still face, such as being discriminated against in their personal and professional lives. Though he was one of the most popular and successful playwrights of his time, Wilde died penniless at the age of 46 after he was arrested and jailed for “gross indecency” with men.

“It’s important to pay respect to people who have come before us and paved the way,” says Martuccio. “He lost everything for being gay.”

But mostly, she wants Wilde Gone Wild to depict the playwright, not as the name behind some dusty, outdated old plays, but as a man with an incredible, timeless wit.

“It’s hopefully a fun, deliverable way for people to enjoy something that maybe they wouldn’t think of going to,” says Martuccio.

Wilde Gone Wild plays on Thu., Mar 14 at 7 p.m. and Fri., Mar 15 at 11 p.m. 460 Melwood Ave., Oakland. $5-10.

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